Advocacy Update: Peace Corps Funding Increase, But No Legislation

This is the news from the National Peace Corps Association.  Thank you to Jonathan Pearson.

“As the 117th Congress finishes its work for the year, final results for the Peace Corps are mixed.”
“On Friday, the House completed work on a $1.7 trillion Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus spending package to fund the federal government through next September. The Peace Corps received a funding increase in its baseline budget. The omnibus legislation includes President Biden’s request of a $20 million, five percent increase for the agency (from $410.5 million to $430.5 million). It’s the first increase in seven years, matching the president’s request and responding as well to the House and Senate appropriations letters that 43 Senators and 146 Members of Congress sent, calling for an increased budget. This increase comes as more than 900 Volunteers and Trainees have returned to service in 45 countries. The remaining nine months of FY23 should see a growing number of Volunteers returning to nearly every country where the Peace Corps had a presence before the coronavirus pandemic.”

‘Despite tremendous progress in both the House and Senate, and hard-fought negotiations right up until the closing hours of the 117th Congress, passage of the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1456; S. 4466) fell short. While the bills had significant bipartisan support — passing both the House and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — objections from some Republicans led to a watering down of the bills, removing key provisions to support Volunteers and RPCVs that came with a financial cost. Even with those provisions removed, the Senate was unable to pass its version of the Reauthorization Act in the closing hours, due to a hold placed on the bill by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who prevented the bill (along with other pieces of legislation) from being passed by Unanimous Consent despite the strong Republican backing for it.”
“National Peace Corps Association Statement”

“On December 23, National Peace Corps Association released this statement:

“Along with last week’s confirmation of Carol Spahn to lead the Peace Corps as its next director, we are glad to see that a long overdue increase in agency funding has been approved by Congress. We hope this funding increase will begin the process of restoring the agency’s purchasing power which has been declining sharply since 2016.

“At the same time, we are profoundly disappointed that Congress failed to pass the much anticipated and widely supported Peace Corps Reauthorization Act. At a time when we should be celebrating the return of Volunteers to service, several Members of Congress have demonstrated a lack of respect for that service and the value that Volunteers provide for both the United States and our partner countries around the world.

“The failure to pass this legislation also threatens the continued work of the congressionally established Sexual Assault Advisory Council (scheduled to expire next year), prevents the director to take sufficient disciplinary action against staff charged with serious misconduct, stops an effort to provide returning volunteers with expanded Non-Competitive Eligibility, fails to address equity and affordability for volunteers in need of hygiene products, and much more.

“Despite our disappointment, we are grateful to those Members of Congress who demonstrated their support for the Peace Corps through their actions. This includes our community champion, RPCV Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and his co-author, Garret Graves (R-LA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Ranking Member Mike McCaul (R-TX), as well as the 79 House Republicans who joined all Democrats to pass H.R. 1456 last September. On the Senate side, our champions, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member James Risch (R-ID), and the bipartisan group of fifteen Senators who co-sponsored S. 4466, and demonstrated a true commitment to America’s positive role in the world. We would also like to thank the Leadership of both Chambers for making extra efforts to pass the legislation up until the final moments of this session. We look forward to working with these and other Peace Corps champions in the next Congress to advance and pass meaningful legislation to support the Peace Corps, advance its mission, and support Volunteers and the communities where they serve.”

“Finally, we are grateful for the thousands of advocates around the country who organized meetings, wrote to lawmakers, submitted opinion pieces and letters to the editor, and engaged others in these efforts. Your commitment has contributed significantly to a revival of the Peace Corps, a new director, and extra resources to support Volunteers and strengthen programs. As we turn our attention to 2023 – including our annual National Days of Advocacy in March – we have a framework for action from which to build upon.”

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    –continuing work of your LIFEtime’s story of the grass

    “Keep on trucking” Lawrence Fixel advised the astonished self-doubting poet-historians

    Note that grasses covering are your story, mine, everyone’s
    that memory once upon a time lived before i.e. is in front of you

    you, everyperson, testifiying good bad, hoped for, cursed, misunderstood.
    We are you as you, us, learning so late

    but happily just doing this duty ferrying this
    history in a flat bottom across the river of no going back across.

    Because being right is not our purpose.
    SIMPLY the doing is our purpose.

    Listeners would there be any who’ll have to sort out as they read.

    Keep on truckin’
    be content with all of it or not but press on. continuing.

    (C) Copyright Edward Mycue December Christmas 2022

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